Beauty does indeed come in all shades. Let’s take a moment to appreciate Khoudia Diop, the stunning 19-year old Senegalese student and model who is currently shaking up the fashion/modelling industry, much like Alek Wek did 20 years ago.

Initially picked on and bullied for her skin tone, Khoudia’s self-assuredness has turned the negative comments into fist-pumping affirmations of black girl power! She fully celebrates her looks, using positive hashtags like #MelaninOnFleek and #DarkSkin on her Instagram fan base of more than 350K strong, testament to how much love this young beauty commands. A busy lady, we recently caught up with Ms Diop to find out a little more about her…

Melan Magazine: Where did you grow up?
Khoudia Diop:
I’m from Senegal, where I grew up before moving to Paris when I was 15.

MM: How old are you?
KD: I’m 19 years old.

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MM: How long have you been modelling?
KD: I was discovered by Victory and Tori, founders of The Colored Girl and I’ve been modeling for two years now.

MM: How tall are you?
KD: I’m 5’8.

MM: What do your parents do and who did you inherit your stunning looks from?
KD: My parents live in New York, where my mom is a hairstylist. I couldn’t possibly say which of my parents I inherited my looks from (lol), I would have to say both of them.

MM: Do you have any siblings and are they as gorgeous as you?
KD: Yes, I have three siblings – two sisters and one little brother, and yes, they’re as beautiful as me.

MM: What did you want to be when you were 10?
KD: I have always wanted to be a model.

MM: Who coined your nickname: Melanin Goddess?
KD: I did! I felt that it would be a cool nickname and that it would help educate people and those with dark skin to let them know that it’s ok to be very dark. I really want them to love themselves more.

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MM: What’s your most amazing experience in the industry so far?
KD: I couldn’t single out one experience, but I feel blessed to be connecting with so many inspiring people and getting to learn from them. I’ve really enjoyed being in The Colored Girl project’s “Rebirth” campaign.

MM: Have you encountered any challenges?
KD:  The most difficult thing is managing my career and school at the same time.

MM: Who are your role models?
KD: My mom and Lupita Nyongo (Hollywood actress).

MM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
KD: Working with NASA!

MM: What’s your daily beauty routine?
KD: I wash my face with fresh water and moisturize it with either coconut oil or karité (Shea butter).

MM: Do you have an exercise regime?
KD: I do a lot of jogging specially at night, since I barely have time to workout.

MM: What skincare products can you not live without?
KD: Moisturizer and oils. I also will not leave the house without my mascara!

MM: What decade had the best fashion?
KD: Definitely the 80s.

MM: What would you say to the 10-year old girl who is being teased about her complexion?
KD: I would tell her to pay no attention to them and remind her that they only want to glow like you!

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MM: You have more than 350k followers on Instagram, how does it make you feel to be so supported and loved on social media?
KD: It feels really good. I’m so very grateful that a lot of people are being positive and through my image, are not only accepting who they are, but are seeing diversity and themselves in the fashion industry.

 Copyright/Image Credit: The Coloured Girl.

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